Futures Hold Losses After Trade Data, Egypt

Stock index futures pointed to a lower open Friday after the U.S. trade gap widened in December and jitters over Egypt continued.

Wall Street had a muted reaction in late trading to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to step down Thursday, but nervousness persisted through international trading, particularly in Europe where the major indexes were broadly lower.

Geopolitics will likely dictate morning trading as well, with little on the economic calendar to drive sentiment.

The U.S. trade gap widened in December, with the full-year trade gap registering its biggest percentage increase in 10 years, according to the Commerce Department. The U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services rose 5.9 percent to $40.6 billion from a slightly revised $38.32 billion the month before, topping economists' estimates for a $40.5 billion shortfall.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment data is due out at 9:55 am ET. Economists expect a reading of 75.0 compared with 74.2 in the final January report.

On the earnings front, Dow component Kraft reported quarterly earnings in line with expectations after the bell Thursday, but the stock struggled after guidance failed to inspire buyers.

In deals news, pipeline company Kinder Morgan raised $2.86 billion with its initial public offeringlate Thursday, pricing above its expected range. The company sold 95.5 million shares at $30 a share, above the expected range of $26 to $29 per share.

Nokia and Microsoft have teamed up to take on Google and Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market as the Finnish cellphone maker attempts to regain its leading positionin the sector.

On Thursday after-the-bell, Ford shares rose after the automaker announced it will pay down another $3 billion in debt in the first quarter as it works toward regaining its investment grade rating in the final stage of its four-year turnaround.

Coming Up This Week:

FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, Nokia analyst day.

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